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Palestine: Sharon's legacy haunts Obama And Kerry

By David Singer - posted Thursday, 30 January 2014


President Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry have a lot on their minds as they grapple with conflicts and political issues involving countries like Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Afghanistan - which no doubt must be causing massive overloading of their respective memory banks.

Yet this would be a lame excuse for them forgetting about - or seeking to minimise - the existence and crucial importance of the letters exchanged on 14 April 2004 between President Bush and Israel's then Prime Minister - Ariel Sharon - who died recently after languishing in a coma for seven years

These letters enabled courageous and highly dangerous decisions being taken by Sharon to kick start President Bush's stalled 2003 Road Map - whose goal had been to end the Jewish-Arab conflict by 2005.

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President Bush's letter provided the catalyst - and the political justification - for Israel unilaterally evacuating the entire Jewish population of 8000 from Gaza and withdrawing Israel's army totally from there - without any preconditions or undertakings being sought from the Palestinian Authority.

The Presidential letter set out the framework that Bush would support in negotiations between Israel and the PLO - conditions that Obama cannot possibly now discard as Kerry finalises his own framework agreement.

President Bush's letter clearly - and unambiguously - assured Sharon that;

1. The borders of any Palestinian Arab State would not encompass the entire West Bank despite successive Arab leaders having demanded this outcome for the previous 37 years,

2. Jewish towns and villages in the West Bank would be incorporated into the borders of Israel

3. The Arabs would have to forego their demand to be given the right to allow millions of Arabs to emigrate to Israel and

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4. Israel's existence as a Jewish State would be non-negotiable

Bush's commitments to Sharon were approved - almost unanimously - by both the US House of Representatives and the Senate.

It didn't take too long however for these Congress-endorsed commitments to be downplayed by Bush and his advisors.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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